Our identity is a mirror of our self-image, reflecting our behavior and interactions with the world around us. With each layer of individual thoughts, beliefs, and actions, we build our way up to establish a sturdy foundation of belonging and security. We then seek the same values in our environment, investing in communities and causes that resonate with our true selves.
Amongst the things that define our idea of the self, financial services encompass a myriad of traits that contribute to our individuality. With personal data being a key ingredient in accessing economic resources, personalization should be at the heart of fabricating offerings with an inclusive mindset. The freedom of being one’s authentic self is a critical element in cementing the many bricks of financial well-being.
Nevertheless, several communities face barriers to a seamless financial journey. On average, the LGBTQ+ population faces more discrimination that impacts their financial wellness, with challenges in areas of work, health, and even family planning. About 40% of LGBTQ+ borrowers have been denied help from a financial professional due to their sexual orientation. Add people of color and transgender individuals to the mix, and we have figures that fair significantly worse.
Despite such results, financial firms have made equal strides in incorporating more mindful inclusive practices. As we wrap up #PrideMonth, we acknowledge the many ecosystem participants that are gaining ground in driving the diversity vehicle forward by addressing the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community in the financial sector.
Mega Banks As Allies
Banking on a financial institution that understands your personal financial habits = formation of a sturdy financial life.
Members of the LGBTQ+ community today realize that finding the right financial provider goes a long way in building a solid economic future that goes beyond the visibility trend of advertisements. Correspondingly, several banking giants are taking notes on how to develop more diversity-friendly frameworks that support #Pride all year round.
JPMorgan has a long history of dedicatedly promoting more opportunities for diverse communities. In January 2021, the Wall Street bank pledged to donate $5M to non-profits that aid LGBTQ+ families impacted by the pandemic. The bank also has a committed LGBT+ Executive Council and a PRIDE business resource group with more than 27,000 LGBTQ+ allies advocating for a more inclusive environment.
Bank of America is another financial services company that is very focused on diversity. The bank was among the first to offer comprehensive domestic partner benefits to LGBTQ+ employees and include sexual orientation in its non-discrimination policies in 1998. Among the many benefits that LGBTQ+ employees of BofA are offered is the Transgender Summit, which brings together transgender employees with LGBTQ executives for dialogue and action planning, and the Pride Ally Program, which provides opportunities to participate in educational and volunteer events.
Wells Fargo approaches LGBTQ-friendly financial needs with expertise and sensitivity. The firm is known for offering advisors and professionals trained to precisely understand the complex financial demands of LGBTQ+ couples and individuals. Its website also has a section where customers can sign up for a Pride-themed card. Not only that, but long before same-sex marriage was legalized, the bank partnered with the College of Financial Planning to create the designation of Accredited Domestic Partner Advisor (ADPA) and offered its financial advisors the chance to take the training.
Credit Bureaus As Allies
Changing one’s name legally to match their gender identity is a transition that requires updating records and documentation. Protection of credit score becomes one of the many steps involved in the procedure. Thankfully, various credit bureaus have stepped up to address this requirement.
While Equifax provides step-by-step instructions on states’ laws for legally changing your name as a transgender person, Experian has detailed information motivated by its employee resource group (the Equifax Pride Network). Occasionally, the group also features outside speakers about issues relevant to the LGBTQ+ community, which results in helping the company learn about credit reporting challenges faced by people in the trans and non-binary community.
FinTechs As Allies
FinTechs tap modern behaviors and requisites, which is why it is one sector that has the opportunity to innovate inclusive financial experiences for the LGBTQ+ communities.
Amongst the many disruptive pioneers is Daylight, a devoted banking solution provider that enables “banking for you and your chosen family.” Founded in 2020, the digital bank is committed to delivering a range of banking services—including deposit accounts, Apple and Google Pay-compatible debit cards with your chosen name, and financial wellness solutions—without worrying about supporting companies or initiatives that are detrimental to the LGBTQ+ community.
Financial super-app Revolut likewise relaunched its iconic rainbow card, first created in 2019, in support of an international fundraising campaign. Customers can also donate through their app, which goes to ILGA-Europe, one of Revolut’s European Donations partners, to support its journey toward a world where no one will be persecuted, oppressed, or discriminated against their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Monzo equally fosters a culture of accepting diverse perspectives and channeling them into a competitive advantage. The challenger bank actively showcases stories of their LGBTQ+ staff, creating awareness and educating the masses on pride-related terms through their personal blogs and linking resources and ways to become a better ally.
Other Financial Institutions and Resources
Numerous other financial providers have cultivated ethical practices that help them implement equity from geographies and industries far and wide. Superbia is one such “profit for purpose” entity that benefits members through tailored products and services, more favorable rates, and grants made regularly to organizations that help support and advance causes of the LGBTQ community. In 2020, the organization launched the Superbia Credit Union, the first LGBTQ-focused profit-for-purpose financial institution with a nationally-oriented membership.
UK’s high-street Metro Bank also came out for gender neutrality by allowing people to declare themselves as non-binary and use the title “Mx.” In India, Axis Bank rolled out its ESG-aligned #ComeAsYouAre charter of policies for its LGBTQ+ employees and customers. Financial wellness resources for the LGBTQ+ community aren’t just limited to financial institutions – the Queer Money podcast is an evidence. Created by David Auten and John Schneider, where the two financial professionals “walk the talk,” the episodes look into the social and economic security issues faced by allies.
Valuing identities goes beyond the rainbow washing of logos and lip-servicing – if something needs to be tick-boxed, it is the criteria of acceptance, equity, and inclusivity. It begins with setting the intention to educate, review, research, and ultimately guide on the various LGBTQ+ issues that may be leading to unconscious bias. By recognizing and respecting every individual’s tailored lifestyle, we embrace holistic fulfillment and welcome broader perspectives that allow room for more unique services to be created.
Celebrating #Pride shouldn’t be enclosed to the time limit of a month; for numerous people, it is their everyday state of being, the core virtues of which define who they really are. Establishing softer goals that encourage continuous engagement with varied communities builds an open culture that opens the door for improved financial performance on a unitary level and a thriving economy as a whole.